Lisinopril is an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Like all medications, lisinopril may come with a range of side effects. This article delves into the potential negative side effects of this widely-used medication.
A Brief Overview of Lisinopril
Lisinopril works by relaxing blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily, thereby reducing blood pressure. It’s commonly prescribed as a crucial part of treatment plans for those with hypertension, heart failure, and other cardiac conditions.
Common Side Effects of Lisinopril
While lisinopril is generally safe and well-tolerated, some people may experience side effects, including:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: Especially after the first dose, due to blood pressure lowering effects.
- Cough: A persistent dry cough can be a notable side effect, resulting from the accumulation of bradykinin.
- Elevated blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia): May cause palpitations or irregular heart rhythms.
- Nausea or diarrhea
Less Common but Serious Side Effects
- Swelling (Angioedema): Particularly in the face, lips, tongue, and throat. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
- Kidney impairment: Lisinopril can affect kidney function, which might be reversible upon discontinuation.
- Elevated blood urea and serum creatinine: Markers of kidney function.
- Low White Blood Cell Count: Can increase susceptibility to infections.
- Liver impairment: Including jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Risks for Particular Populations
- Pregnancy: Lisinopril is categorized as a pregnancy category D drug, meaning it can harm the fetus and is generally contraindicated during pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding: It is advised to avoid lisinopril while breastfeeding due to potential risks to the infant.
- Surgery: It’s essential to inform your surgeon if you’re on lisinopril, as it can interact with anesthesia.
Lisinopril can interact with several other medications, which can exacerbate side effects or reduce its effectiveness:
- Diuretics: Can increase the risk of low blood pressure.
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen: Can reduce the antihypertensive effects.
- Potassium supplements: Can increase the risk of hyperkalemia.
- Lithium: Lisinopril can increase lithium levels, leading to toxicity.
Managing Side Effects
If you experience side effects, it’s crucial to:
- Consult your physician: Before stopping any medication, always talk to your doctor.
- Monitor your health: Regular blood tests can keep track of kidney function, potassium levels, and other markers.
- Stay hydrated: This can reduce the risk of some side effects.
Q: Can I stop taking lisinopril if I experience side effects?
- A: Always consult your doctor before making changes to your medication regimen.
Q: Are there alternatives to lisinopril if I can’t tolerate it?
- A: Yes, there are other classes of antihypertensives that your doctor can consider.
Q: How long do lisinopril side effects last?
- A: Some side effects like dizziness might diminish with time, but others like cough might persist.
Lisinopril is a valuable tool in the management of several cardiovascular conditions. While its side effects can be concerning, they’re not guaranteed and vary from individual to individual. It’s essential to maintain open communication with healthcare providers and report any unusual symptoms.